NewsBrief August 28, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 28, 2020

Air Force Taps Machine Learning to Speed Up Flight Certifications

(Nextgov) Machine learning is transforming the way an Air Force office analyzes and certifies new flight configurations. The Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office sets standards for safe flight configurations by testing and looking at historical data to see how different stores—like a weapon system attached to an F-16—affect flight. A project AFSEO developed along with industry partners can now automate up to 80% of requests for analysis, according to the office’s Chief Data Officer Donna Cotton. “The application is kind of like an eager junior engineer consulting a senior engineer,” Cotton said. “It makes the straightforward calls without any input, but in the hard cases it walks into the senior engineer’s office and says: ‘Hey, I did a bunch of research and this is what I found out. Can you give me your opinion?’” Read More

Coming soon: A one-stop-shop for information about DOD’s online courses

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense‘s mantra of increasing interoperability and data sharing between services and components has come to its education platforms. A recent pilot launched by the DOD’s chief management officer aims to create a searchable catalog of every online course available across the military. The Enterprise Course Catalog builds on years of wanting to leverage enterprise IT to improve the data management of online education for DOD civilians and uniformed personnel. Read More

AFRL Issues RFI for Quantum R&D Strategy Dev’t Support

(ExecutiveGov) The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is looking for potential sources that can help the lab create a blueprint for quantum information science (QIS) research and development initiatives. AFRL said in a notice posted Monday on the beta SAM website that the successful offeror will assist the lab in creating the Air Force’s QIS science and technology strategy focused on developing, demonstrating and fielding quantum systems. Read More

NASA embracing automation in move to zero-trust security architecture

(fedscoop) NASA is automating responses to basic security threats as it moves to a zero-trust architecture in order to free up its limited analysts to focus on customized attacks. Before the coronavirus pandemic could reach the U.S, NASA tested its security and network operations centers with an enterprisewide telework scenario. Within hours, an employee at Ames Research Center reported the agency’s first COVID-19 infection, said Mike Witt, associate chief information officer for cybersecurity and privacy at NASA. Read More

How the pandemic is upending agency views on employee reskilling

(Federal News Network) “Reskilling” was once a novel concept a year or two ago. The word may have invoked fear for some, and opportunity for others. But the coronavirus pandemic has, in a sense, forced practically all federal employees to “reskill” themselves for a new virtual environment. “Some of the low value work we were doing has dropped away because we aren’t in the office to do it,” said Robyn Rees, a senior adviser on workforce trends and innovative workforce planning processes at the Interior Department. “Think filing cabinets, printing and stapling presentations for meetings and scanning and signing documents. Read More

To Fight Pandemics, We Need Better Data

(MIT Sloan) The United States has had many problems coping with the coronavirus. A critical — and underappreciated — problem is bad data, which makes coping more difficult. We still don’t know how many people have the virus, how many are hospitalized, how many are in intensive care units, and how many are on ventilators. There is poor data on testing availability, and testing results are too often incorrect, delayed, or not counted. Contact tracing, necessary for avoiding community spread of coronavirus, lacks both the needed data and the human or technological resources to use it. And for much of the pandemic, we have not known whether medical supplies were adequate, whether equipment was even working, or how quickly we could obtain crucial items such as personal protective equipment and ventilators or ramp up to produce them domestically. Read More

Machine learning algorithm confirms 50 new exoplanets in historic first

(TechRepublic) In recent years, researchers have tapped artificial intelligence (AI) for a host of applications across industries from mitigating regional wildfires to identifying potential COVID-19 treatments. Now, astronomers are using machine learning algorithms to search for planets beyond our solar system formally known as exoplanets. In a recent astronomical first, a machine learning algorithm confirmed dozens of distant exoplanets drifting through the cosmos. Read More